Posts Tagged ‘ zoo ’

Explaining Mutant Animals To Your Child

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

2 years, 9 months.

Dear Jack,

We drove away from the Nashville Zoo this afternoon with you asking me, “Daddy, why Giraffe Man? Why he there?”

I attempted to explain to you that he really likes kids and giraffes.

But that just raised even more important questions.

You evidently concluded from my answer that “Giraffe Man” sleeps in the zoo with the other giraffes but has the privilege of walking through the midst of human families at the zoo and having his picture taken with them.

We kept talking about Giraffe Man even after we got home.

I’m pretty sure you want him to join us for dinner in the near future.

At some point, you’re going to ask me if Elmo and Mickey Mouse and Giraffe Man are real.

That will be a sad day for me.

I love it that your imagination leads you to believe that these mutant creatures might actually be part of the real world, instead of people in costumes or controlling a puppet.

As I look at the ridiculous picture of us with Giraffe Man, I sure hope that of all random events you may or may not be remembering for life right now, that you remember this day.

It would be awesome if in a few years from now, you ask me about being at the zoo with me and seeing a giraffe person or something.

Then I can say, “Yeah, that was from when I was training for the half marathon and you and I spent a Sunday afternoon at the zoo together. I ran while pushing you in the stroller throughout the whole zoo and at the end, we had our picture made with a man (or woman) in a giraffe costume.”

I never really know what you’re actually comprehending or remembering at this age. It’s interesting to think about, though.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

P.S. To see more pictures of our father/son visit to the Nashville Zoo today, go to The Dadabase Facebook page and find the photo folder called “The Mutant Giraffe And The Hungry Goat.”

 

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When I Was 2 Years, 9 Months Old, I Became A Brother

Friday, August 16th, 2013

2 years, 9 months.

Dear Jack,

My mom (known to you as Nonna) texted me this morning to point out the interesting fact that when I was 2 years, 9 months old, it was January 1984.

That’s when my sister (your Auntie Dana) was born. In other words, when I was your age, I became an older brother.

Just so I can put this into perspective for myself, that means that even if during the next couple of years, you end up getting a baby brother or sister, the age difference between you and him or her will definitely be greater than the age difference between my sister and me.

Each month and each year that passes in which you remain an only child, it makes me wonder if you will always be one.

Will you become that “little adult” than only children are often referred to as?

When we go on family vacations, will it just be you in goofy touristy photos like these from the Sacramento Zoo?

I mean… I’m curious, but not that curious.

There’s no sense of urgency, but I when consider I was already a big brother by your age, it does make me think about your fate of whether or not you will have a sibling.

Perhaps I write to you about the subject of “will you or will you not remain an only child?” quite often.

No, not perhaps- I totally do.

But for me, it’s not a subject to be dealt with lightly. For our family, there is a lot of careful planning and consideration involved.

By now, I’m way past caring about anyone else’s expectations of our family growing.

I’m even way past what I perceive in my own mind of what the normal American family is supposed to be; which I suppose the image I have in my head includes at least two kids and a dog.

But we’re not even a “dog family.” Or cat lovers.

We’re not animal people at all! Except for the fact we enjoy going to zoos as a type of a default hobby because our Nashville Zoo Pass is transferable to other major zoos.

Life is unfolding slightly different than I planned it. I always wanted four kids.

Then you were born. And I realized, I feel plenty enough of a dad now.

I feel like I can live my entire life satisfied in knowing I get to raise you and have a lifelong relationship with you.

You may never know what it’s like to be a big brother. Are you okay with that?

 

Love,

Daddy

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A Farewell To (Mommy and Daddy’s) Arms

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

As I look through the pictures from our Louisville Zoo trip on my Facebook page, I realize how challenging it is to find a picture of you with Mommy and/or me where one of us isn’t holding you.

(See the album “Louisville Zoo Road Trip Summer 2013.”)

Son, you’re more than half my height now. You don’t need me to hold you.

However, I recognize that’s the #1 way you show physical affection with people.

So it’s never been easy (or felt natural or right) for Mommy or me to refuse to hold you when you ask us to; which is pretty much anytime we’re in public, as well as when we are putting you to bed.

But now, I think the time has come.

You’re pushing 3 years old now. More importantly, Mommy is the one who holds you most.

She’s definitely strong, but you’re not a light kid, and I know that holding you all the time can’t be good for her back.

It’s a struggle as your parents to deny you the type of physical affection you crave, when we feel like we hardly ever get to see you anyway.

In our version of 2013, Mommy and I both have to work full-time; even though we’re debt-free now.

I’m taking it upon myself to transition you into you holding our hands and walking, and making up for the lack of closer physical contact in other ways.

Yesterday morning, I tried our new way of doing things.

“Jack, this morning when we go into school, you’re going to walk and hold Daddy’s hand.”

Yeah, it didn’t go well.

It was even worse when I came to pick you up at the end of the day.

You were so happy to see me, but then had a breakdown all the way out the building into the car.

And I imagine it will be that way for the rest of this week, at least.

I wonder in what new ways you will begin showing affection to Mommy and me as we transition out of holding you.

As you get used to walking in public and holding my hand everyday going to and from school, my hope is that it becomes more normal for you to let Mommy do the same.

After all, we were at the Louisville Zoo for nearly 6 hours and Mommy was the one carrying you around most of the time.

So here’s to a new transition in our lives. Oh yeah… we still need to work on that whole “potty training” thing too…

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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Fun Summer Activity: Playing With Wet Toilet Paper

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

2 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

Our family believes in being classy. Therefore, toilet paper is a toy.

Hey, it was your idea, not mine.

Last Sunday, the weather was a bit overcast and you wanted to play outside in the water, but didn’t really want to get wet.

So I just let you figure out for yourself what that even meant once you got outside.

It so happened that your nose started running once you got out there so I grabbed you some toilet paper real quick, leaving the extra sheets in my pocket.

As you dunked your plastic tiger souvenir from the Louisville Zoo into your Little Tikes water table, you saw the extra toilet paper hanging out of my front pocket:

“Daddy, I have that? Toilet paper… please?”

With me being in “whatever works” mode having survived the road trip from [Louisville] the day before, I didn’t hesitate to grant your wish.

I stepped away for a minute to pour a glass of water and returned to your explaining to me what was going on in your world:

“Look Daddy, the tiger has a mane!”

That confirmed that our Louisville Zoo trip was actually educational… sort of.

You then proceeded to use one of Mommy’s measuring cups to wash the tiger’s mane off.

I also learned from you that wet toilet paper serves as great “cement” for your toy trucks.

Admittedly, I was hoping yesterday’s thunderstorm would magically wash away the debris.

Turns out, wet toilet paper that has been dried by the sun does not necessarily turn mushy again by heavy rain… and then just “disappear” after that.

I guess I know what I’ll be doing this weekend.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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Decoding My Child’s Version Of The English Language

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

2 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

One of the most noteworthy things about seeing you grow up right now, in this phase of your life, is the way you’re experimenting with your speaking abilities.

We’ve been taking advantage of our family zoo pass by going every single weekend since we bought it about a month ago. In the process, I learned what a hot potato is.

“Look at that hot potato!” you would exclaim, referring to the climbable statue in the zoo’s playground.

I realized that in your version of the English language, a hippopotamus is a hot potato.

My mind went back to the year 1988 as you preceded to “feed” the “hot potato” some mulch.

Apparently, I was witnessing the live version of the board game “Hungry, Hungry Hippos.”

Of course, “hot potatoes” aren’t the only thing I have to remember to immediately translate in my mind.

When Mommy makes you Annie’s Homegrown macaroni and cheese for dinner, you always ask her to put “black cheese” on it.

Any guesses as to what that means?

Pepper. Black pepper is “black cheese.”

One of my favorite phrases of yours is a “regular bar.”

We have so many different types of organic fruit strip snacks we keep in the pantry, that’s how you have been identifying and differentiating fig bars.

Somehow the fact they have a whole wheat coating around them makes them “regular.”

“Mommy, I have a regular bar?” That’s the kind of thing I would overhear you ask Mommy.

Finally, I had to finally ask Mommy what that meant.

She explained they are the Nature’s Bakery brand (non-GMO verified) version of Fig Newtons.

So there you have it…

Hot potatoes are hippopotamuses.

Black cheese is black pepper.

And regular bars are fig bars.

It has just now occurred to me that really, only Mommy and I understand your version of the English language.

Even then, we’re still decoding what you say every day.

 

Love,

Daddy

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